What does the ‘red list’ mean for travellers?

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·2-min read

India has been added to the Government’s “red list”.

The move comes into force at 4am on Friday.

Here the PA news agency answers 10 key questions on what the list is and what impact it has:

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– What is the “red list”?

It is a Government list of countries from which people travelling to the UK are subjected to restrictions in a bid to protect the UK from coronavirus variants of concern.

– What determines which countries are added?

A range of factors are assessed, including evidence of new variants being exported to the UK or other countries, and a country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

– Who is on the list?

India brings the number of countries on the list to 40.

It includes most of South America and southern Africa, plus nations such as Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and the Philippines.

– What has the Government said about India?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that 103 cases of a variant first identified in India have been detected in the UK.

He described the decision to add India to the “red list” as “difficult but vital”.

– What impact does being on the list have on travel?

People who have been in a “red list” country in the previous 10 days are not allowed to enter the UK, unless they are a UK or Irish national or have residence rights in the UK.

– What about quarantine hotels?

People who are allowed to enter the UK from a “red list” country must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for at least 10 days at a cost of £1,750 for solo travellers.

– Are there any exemptions?

Some people are exempt because of the work they are doing, such as aircraft pilots and crew, civil servants or Government contractors and defence personnel in certain circumstances.

– What flights currently operate from India to the UK?

There are a handful of flights each day from India to the UK, mainly landing at London Heathrow.

– What will happen to air fares?

Ticket prices will soar for direct and indirect flights from India to the UK as many travellers will be desperate to avoid the quarantine hotel fee.

– Are direct flights banned from “red list” countries?

That was initially the case, but when the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya, and Bangladesh were added to the list earlier this month the Department for Transport said it was not implementing a ban on flights from those countries.

No ban on flights from India has been announced.